I have vivid memories of a long gone era, when I was young and my parents were still married. When evenings were filled with music and dancing.
Some of the most special are of my father singing “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino or him crooning to “November Rain” by Guns and Roses. It was no surprise that most of these moments were when he was tipsy, sometimes not. He was a conservative man but through music he awakened. These were the times when he most displayed his affection, either with my mother, myself and my siblings and his extended family.
I remember going to a music festival with him when I was seventeen. Nevermind Oppi Koppi or Splashy Fen, I went to KKNK( the Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees – an arts festival in Oudtshoorn). Afternoons consisted of drinking cheap bottles of wine and listening to musicians, young, old, Afrikaans and English. I had to live in a tent for a week nd had to deal with my father trying to bum cigarettes off me as he had recently found out that I was a smoker. He had quit for two years, but that didnt deter him from asking. Being the good daughter I refused him a ciggy everytime.
Although I thought the trip might be boring…afterall I was 17 and a typical rebellious party animal daughter…I took the portunity to spend the little time I could with my dad as my parents were divorced and we didnt spend a lot of quality time with him back then.
Well, it is one I will never forget. Instead of watching me like a hawk he let me do pretty much what I wanted to. If I didnt want to spend tme with him I could walk through the small town of Oudtshoorn dropping in on little art shows and comedians, looking through flea markets and meeting some interesting people.
I remember sunshine and music. Blackie Swart singing “Luwe Lulu” and heaing some David Kramer and Koos Kombuis. I could barely speak Afrikaans back then, hell I stil do a shitty job of it, but it wasnt so much undersanding what they were singing about because it was about feeling.
And music is about feeling.
Music is about laughing and crying, about lifting the spirits or sometimes fueling your anger. The strumming of a guitar and the beat of a drum. A voice singing a tune, someone singing along, the clapping of hands and the movement of feet to tunes.
I remember my darkest moments, lying alone in my bed, the tears streaming like a flood; to the sounds of Pink, or Guns and Roses, or Matchbox 20 or Sara Barielles or Live. Has your heart ever been in so much anguish that you cannot breathe, your chest is caving in and in those moments you are so completely overcome with grief you feel you will die?
Have you ever been at a concert and they play your favourite song. Thousands of people dancing and singing to the same lyrics. Almost as if you are in trance. A feeling of complete elation and bliss that cannot be substitute?
It is true that I love the mountains, but second to the mountains is music. I cannot go long in this “Babylon” without it.